Listening to Gov. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address this year, I was pleased with her focus on right-sizing state government, and I join her in making sure this State makes responsible decisions with taxpayers dollars. At the same time, I am hesitant to spend the savings and revenue growth we have accrued over the past several years. We have been blessed recently in coming out of a recession, but we must continue to have a responsible and cautious attitude when looking at our funds.
Gov. Fallin made it clear that there will be no push for bond issues to pay for Capitol repairs. Her speech called for $10 million in appropriations to began work on Capitol repairs and House Speaker T.W. Shannon has said he will be working on a long-term plan to pay for repairs as we go rather than through a bond issue. I think this is the right way to approach state asset management. Passing a bond simply shows that we are not truly passing a balanced budget. This is an issue that we must address this year.
I do not agree with every priority made in her executive budget, but I do think it is a starting point for us this session. I would like to see more cuts in non-essential programs, although I support efforts to increase education funding and other core services. We must start cutting small, non-essential services in order to ensure we fully fund the most important services provided by the state.
There seems to be more consensus this year among the Senate, House and Governor’s office on tax cuts and that bolds well for passage of tax cut legislation. I am looking forward to having many discussions and finding the correct answers for this issue. There is also a strong consensus on workers’ compensation reform and the governor’s decision to reject a Medicaid expansion. This is also an issue that we must address this year.
All and all, it was a good start to the 2013 legislative session.
Please provide any feedback and thoughts that you may have on policy. I hope to count on your support as we make our state government leaner and more efficient. Please never hesitate to contact me at (405) 788-9160 or Josh.Cockroft@okhouse.gov. Follow me on Twitter: @VoteCockroft27 and on Facebook: Representative Josh Cockroft.